When the Spanish conquistadors invaded the Aztec empire, they tore down their temples and gods. With Spanish rule came the imposition of the Spanish god, a god who stayed with the people even after Spain’s rule over them dissipated. Now, Mexican identity is strongly tied to Catholicism, Jesus Christo, and the Virgen de Guadalupe.
“The Catholic Church had noted that the Aztecs paid tribute to their gods at the Templo Mayor with cacao beans, so they replaced the statues of those deities with theirs–but allowed believers to keep leaving their deistic gifts, now calling them alms toward the cathedral’s construction…[now] the beans themselves, which grow in the wild and on plantations just hours away from Mexico City, are far too valuable to waste on penance…the two filched foods: vanilla and chocolate, indisputably Mexican, beloved by almost all, creators of fortunes for nearly everyone but their motherland. The Christ of the Cacao weeps. The world feasts. Yum” (13).
When the Conquistadors came to what is now known as Mexico, they fell in love with the many spices and flavors of the cuisine. As such, they recognized the value of such spices, exporting to the world the flavors that could only be found in this region. This is most exemplified by vanilla and chocolate, which as Arellano says is “beloved by almost all” and created “fortunes for nearly everyone but their motherland”. This is the beginning of the exploitation of Mexico, when Spain cut out the golden goose from the profits of its own fruits and labor.